Semiu’s Viva

Semiu’s Viva voce

Date: 31st July, 2016
Venue: Viva room, AHSGS of Arts & Sciences.


He said “Meet my supervisor, this PhD is produced by her, and I am a proud product”

Ayobami Akanmu Semiu, is my PhD student from Nigeria. A diligent and hardworking student I would say. On top of working on his research work and thesis, he works himself to exhaustion trying to add papers to his CV!, I am just joking. he writes because it is the regulation of the university that the candidate should produce at least one journal article to graduate. The article published at international level is a kind of approval and open up to the many opportunities for learning and connecting that are happening all around the candidate’s work.


With his friends, who came to give him moral support.

Semiu was passionately connected to his thesis and remain engaged with his research and me, his supervisor. I have always deployed weekly meetings as the best pattern for supervision to nurture this connection. Though I do not claim that Semiu is lacking in time-management, I just wanna provide a tight accountability structure for him (and the same approach is applied for all my students). I believe, when students know that that written work or progress is expected each week, and they have to sit in an office with a supervisor who is evaluating their work, that stress creates productive writing and research (he..he.. kalau nak jumpa hari Rabu, hari Isnin student dah panic!)

Back to his viva voce session, in the beginning was not a smooth one. The Q&A session as usual, always tough and sometimes can drive us crazy. I still remembered how Semiu sweats all over! While waiting for the results, he keeps on pulling one tissue after another, wiping his face, head…

But the ending, like all box-office movies, is a happy one. Alhamdulillah, he passed with just minor corrections.

viva semiu

Congratulations Semiu. You made it. Sitting from right are Associate Professor Dr Haslina (Internal examiner), External examiner, and chairman. Standing from right – me, Semiu and Dr Hasbullah (representing the dean).

Yusnita’s Viva

Yusnita’s Viva voce

Date 23 May, 2016
Venue: Viva room, AHSGS of Arts & Sciences, UUM

This is a big day for Yusnita. I believe 23rd May, will be remembered for life because PhD viva only happen once (unless one fail the PhD and go through the process all over again!!).

viva yusnita

Congratulations! From the right –  Yusnita (candidate), me (supervisor), Professor Dr Ahmad Zaki (external examiner), Professor Dr Suhaidi (chaiman), Associate professor Dr Siti Sakira (internal examiner) and Dr Norliza, representing the dean of SOC.

She defended her doctorate at a ‘viva voce’ (Latin for ‘by live voice’) or oral examination, on 23rd May, examined by Prof Dr Ahmad Zaki of UTEM (external examiner) and Associate Professor Dr Siti Sakira (internal examiner). The title of her thesis is “Model dan algorithma visualisasi ayat Bahasa Melayu

I always made it a must for me to attend my students’ viva, although I am not allowed to participate unless invited to do so by the examiners. I just want to hear the questions and comments from the examiners myself, on top of keeping an eye on my student – to give some hints via body-language to see if they’re going wrong! 😉

Yusnita’s viva lasted for almost 3 hours, where the examiners went through the thesis sequentially, asking questions- going from tough to toughest. But I already reminded her that asking a lot of questions doesn’t mean they’re going to fail her. The key to survive a viva is that you know how to justify every single decision made in the thesis. Why such domain? why such sample? why such methods of enquiry? why…? why..? Your ability to rationale and defended your decision based on theory, literary arguments, and not from your intuition/feeling, will define you as a distinguish candidate.

The thesis defense was a tough one, but I believe, after the session, she enjoyed the experience of discussing her PhD research with genuinely interested experts. I advised her to take it as a useful networking opportunity. Indeed, examiners have different personalities, styles and levels of experience. I am glad that Yusnita was really cool, relaxed, thoughtful, and non-confrontational That strategy really helped re-balance the Q&A session. Having Prof Dr Suhaidi as an independent chair further helped maintain a constructive environment.

She did well, Alhamdulillah, passed her PhD with some modifications to be checked again by the examiners.

Just an advice to those preparing for their viva voce, bring these for your viva:

  • Obviously, a copy of your thesis. Stick yellow `post-it’ notes on it (e.g. anticipated questions and answers)
  • the chapter summaries you made for revision;
  • all the notebooks you should have been keeping since the start of your research (the notebooks need to be indexed so that you can look things up);
  • Significant papers, those you reviewed  in the thesis;
  • List of minor corrections that you have come across during your revision
  • The running prototype (for IT students who use prototype to simulate results or proof of concept)

Finally, do not forget bring some tissues (surely you will be sweating even in the 16 degree Celcious air conditioning temperature), paracetemol ( know better what you need in such a situation), … in case of any unexpected bouts of sneezing, headaches, etc.

i-InTeL 2016

Gold Award- International innovation in teaching and learning (i-InTeL)

Date: 27-28 July 2016
Venue: Dewan Perdana, UiTM, Kampus Merbok



The inventors

Congrats to my PhD student, Norsafinar on the success of her product in grabbing the gold award during i-InTeL, 2016. The product, given a persona name Write-rite, provides activities for dysgraphic children, supporting them in developing the fundamental skills that handwriting demands.

Write-rite offers the teachers and parents the possibility to execute sets of different types of exercises, organized in levels. Based on the final writing result, dysgraphic students will get their score. This approach serves as a form of creative teaching, as a way of refining the children’s motor ability. The product, in general, aimed at improving their visual-spatial coordination and also fine motor coordination.


The poster: Write-rite, adysgraphic-friendly tool to sopport writing

The event took place at UiTM Merbok, and the website can be accessed via

Alhamdulillah, we managed to secure another gold award, this time for Write-rite.


Reference to the product can be made as follows:

Nursafinar, R. & Zulikha, J. (2016). Write-rite: Dysgraphic friendly tool for writing.International innovation for teaching and learning (i-InTel 2016). Dewan Perdana UiTM Kedah. Gold Medal. 27-28 July 2016.

i-IDEA 2016

Gold and Silver awards during i-IDeA 2016

Date: 27-29 April, 2016.
Venue: State Hall next to Hotel Sri Malaysia, Perlis.

Time flies. I have been wanting to write this post since April. It is now August…

Just wanna share my happiness for being able to grab silver and gold awards during i-IDeA 2016. i-IDeA is a competition that highlights research products of  and promotes the culture of research and innovation among participants from local and foreign institutions of higher education. This is also a platform to link institutions of higher education and industries in sharing their products and creative ideas that can be commercialized.

We put up 2 product, namely

  • Product 1: StudentViz: An exploratory and visualisation tool for HEI students’ data (Semiu and me)
  • Product 2: Autism social aid (Dr Wan fatimah, Iman, me and Dr Sobri)

The StudentViz product is being judges. Semiu was all out! (Don’t ask me why this image rotate sideway – ask wordpress instead! the updated version 4.5 has bugs)


Iman is explaining Autism Social Aid to one of the judges.

Product 1 won Silver, while product 2 grabed gold. Feel so happy for the team members. Everybody works hard for this competition, and I supposed the hard work pays. Alhamdulillah.

ididea medal

The i-IDeA medal


The gold medal, awarded to Autism Social Aid project.